CS 252r: Advanced Topics in Programming Languages

How to read a research paper

In this class, you are not required to submit summaries or critiques of the papers. However, you may find if useful to ask yourself the following questions as you read the paper, or after you read the paper.

  • What problem is the paper addressing? How well do they succeed in solving the problem?
  • What is the contribution of the paper? How important is this contribution?
  • How would you have addressed the problem?
  • What was unclear to you?
  • How does the paper relate to other papers we have read?
  • Are there any obvious or non-obvious extensions to this work?
  • Can you suggest a two-sentence project idea based on the ideas of this paper?

Michael Mitzenmacher has a longer discussion on how to read a research paper.